One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is involvement in projects that take music and movement to sectors of the community who might not otherwise have that access. As well as co-leading the ENB’s Dance for Parkinson’s programme, I’ve joined forces with a number of dance artists to create live music sessions in hospitals and homes around the area. In 2017 I started a project at Witney Community Hospital with the arts development officer, Angela Conlan, and together we visit the wards and day room to bring some song and dance into the daily routine. Angela and dancer Rhonda Sparrey are also involved in a performance project with young people who have dementia, and I hope to join them as that programme develops.
In 2016, Rhonda and I were among 12 practitioners accepted on to the FLOURISH programme to encourage the use of arts among people with dementia. We led a course of eight Dance for Dementia workshops at the Christchurch Centre in Henley, featuring themes such as A Night At The Theatre and A Day At The Seaside. Other participants in the programme ran sessions in textiles, poetry and visual arts as well as music, and we all met to develop our ideas and broaden our horizons together. Here’s a sort film about our work, which gives some idea of the extraordinary power of music to revive and reconnect.